The true enjoyment of Ramen

Ramen can broadly be categorized into 5 flavors:

1. Shoyu Ramen

This is the most fundamental type of ramen. It uses soy sauce for its light brown, clear broth, offering a simple and light flavor. Soy sauce, a common seasoning in Japanese cuisine, is said to have been used in ramen for over 100 years.

2. Tonkotsu Ramen

Made with a broth from simmered pork bones, it’s characterized by its milky white color and a rich, robust taste.
The soup has a unique aroma from the bones. Originating from Fukuoka Prefecture, local restaurants often emphasize this aroma, while others in different regions tend to reduce it to enhance the umami.

3. Shio Ramen

This uses salt in its broth, blended with chicken or pork bone stock, resulting in a light and refreshing flavor.
The broth is clear and not overly concentrated, offering an elegant taste. In contrast to the intense Tonkotsu broth, its lightness makes it particularly popular among women.

4. Miso Ramen

The broth is made with miso, giving it a brown color and a rich, flavorful taste. Though rich, it’s not as heavy as Tonkotsu Ramen because it’s based on miso (soybean) rather than animal products. Believed to originate from Hokkaido, the classic style includes vegetables like corn and cabbage, and a slice of butter.

5. Torigara Ramen

Characterized by its lightly cloudy, pale broth made from chicken bones. It’s milder and less intense than Tonkotsu Ramen but still has a rich taste. Its lighter soup makes it a favorite among women, and some prefer it after drinking.

These are the 5 most orthodox types of ramen, though there are variations like mixed broths. However, these 5 are generally the basics. The best way to understand ramen is to try these flavors yourself.

If you visit Japan, try comparing these 5 types of ramen. This will give you a deeper insight into ramen culture and help you find your favorite ramen flavor.